Tuesday, November 15, 2016
4:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
Life Story Funeral Homes - Rupert, Durham, Marshall & Gren
120 South Woodhams Street
Plainwell, MI 49080
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Plainwell Arts Council
P.O. Box 383
Plainwell, MI 49080
Life Story / Obituary
There was so much to love and admire about Noreen Farmer. From her friendly personality to her uncanny sense of humor, Noreen delighted all with her fun-loving nature. Although stubborn, Noreen was proud to know she accomplished much throughout her life despite the obstacles that came her way. Foremost in Noreen’s life was the family she loved, the granddaughter she adored, and the close friendships she fostered along life’s way. Gone yet never to be forgotten, the heart of Noreen lives on in the lives of all who came to know and love her.
A time of innovation, the year 1957 found the U.S. economy booming. The need for consumer goods grew as manufacturing attempted to keep up with demand. It was the peak of the “baby boomer” era, and a time when families prayed, played, and sat at the dinner table together. American Bandstand made its debut while Elvis Presley recorded numerous hits, and the introduction of the Frisbee and Tonka Trucks became the delight of children everywhere. Yet for Norman “Joe” and Laura (Snyder) Swainston, nothing was more exciting than the blessed birth of their little girl, Noreen, born on October 7, 1957, in Allegan, Michigan.
The baby of the family, Noreen joined her four older siblings, Betty, David “Butch”, Ginny, and Jerri in their family home. Her father was a truck driver for S&S Oil Company while her mother remained at home as a homemaker. With such a bustling household, times were often hard for Noreen’s family, yet they shared a loving closeness that remained throughout Noreen’s childhood. When Noreen was three, her family moved to Florida where Noreen experienced times typical for a young girl of her generation. She absolutely loved going to the shores of the ocean, and being in the water was second nature to Noreen.
Noreen attended the area schools including high school in New Port Richey, Florida. Following high school, she went on to attend cosmetology school, becoming a hairdresser for a time. It was during these years, when at the age of 18, Noreen met Rex. Married in New Port Richey on March 15, 1976, the couple moved to Colorado where they remained for several years. Rex's job with the railroad eventually found them transferring to Fort Wayne, Indiana where they began a family of their own. The loving mother of two strapping boys, Eric came along first, followed by Jarrod.
Life in Fort Wayne was good for Noreen and Rex. Her sister, Jerri and her husband lived there, and together the couples merged their talents and started their own business in cabinet laminating. For a time things were going well, yet with the sad death of Noreen’s sister, they decided to close the business. Rex and Noreen eventually divorced, but she was always grateful for the two fine sons they shared from their union.
Noreen and her niece, Marge, were always close and the best of friends, too. In time she packed up her boys and moved to Michigan, and together they stayed with Marge until Noreen was settled. A positive woman with the perseverance to do what needed to be done, Noreen landed a job managing several gas stations, yet it was while working as a waitress part-time in Wayland when she met her second husband, Dennis. After dating for less than two years, they were married on April 24, 1999, yet divorced after five years of marriage.
Noreen continued on with her life in a positive light. She made her home in the Hopkins area, and she soon took a position with the city of Allegan as the City Deputy Clerk. After transferring to the City of Plainwell, she went on to hold the same position there for the next 17 years of her career. It was a wonderful fit for Noreen with her fun-loving attitude. Her co-workers became like family, and she enjoyed her work tremendously. She was especially proud of her work at City Hall in Plainwell, and was known well for her striking red hair, she was affectionately referred to as, “Ginger Ninja," and everyone called her, “Red." In fact, they even planted a red tree in her honor and her hair!
A vigorous and thorough worker, Noreen’s people skills and welcoming spirit naturally drew others to her side. She did quite well for herself, coming a long way from the struggles of her childhood. She acquired a home on the water in Plainwell, and she was able to enjoy her love for travel. Memorable trips to Florida, Hawaii, Jamaica, and the east coast trip made for great times. Although many of these were weekend trips, Noreen enjoyed herself immensely and vowed they were never long enough!
In her free time, Noreen loved playing cards! She went to a card club every Thursday, in addition to her participation in the Plainwell Arts Council and the Plainwell Christmas Project. She had a love for shopping, with Marge it always meant a meaningful, fun time together. As far as animals, Noreen had Great Danes when the boys were young, and she loved them all. Spending time with her wonderful friends was a priority for Noreen. She highly valued these special friendships, especially with her best friends, Sal, Marge, and Karen who were a huge part of Noreen’s life. She met Sal 26 years ago, and Marge, her niece, was the same age as Noreen.
Noreen’s granddaughter, Katelyn was the delight of her life and her favorite thing ever. She loved having her over, and spending time with Katelyn brought her the greatest joy. Her friends and family meant everything to Noreen. Many in her family found it funny that Noreen, being left-handed, could not do even the easiest right-handed things. She enjoyed the best of times with the special people in her life which will never be forgotten.
An independent woman, Noreen was stubborn by nature yet she was one of the most outgoing and friendliest. She had a way all her own when it came to being funny, and she was well-liked by everyone who came her way. Many undeniably enjoyed Noreen’s company, and when she walked into a room, she lit it up with her vibrant and positive demeanor. For those who knew her best, Noreen will be deeply missed and fondly remembered.
Noreen Farmer, age 59, of Plainwell passed away on November 11, 2016, in the comfort of her home. Visit with her family and friends and view her life story film on Tuesday, November 15th, from 4-8 PM at the Life Story Funeral Home, Plainwell; 120 Woodhams St. (685-5881). A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, November 16th, 10 AM at the same location. Noreen’s family includes her children: Eric (Dana) Van Ness and Jarrod (Beth) Van Ness; her granddaughter, Katelyn; sister, Betty (John) Stamm; as well as several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Butch; and sisters, Ginny and Jerri. Please visit Noreen’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can share a favorite memory or photo, and sign her memory book online. Memorial donations can be made to the Plainwell Arts Council.